During the past few months, I went through a tumultuous period in my life. I was challenged to stay open, to avoid shutting my heart down through grief and disappointment. I continued searching for the meaning behind my experiences, the lesson I can learn from this. Acceptance became the key to understanding it. And acceptance came to mean much more than just learning to live with the experience.

Acceptance seems easy. But it is very difficult and challenging to accept things wholeheartedly and thoroughly. Acceptance is being able to sit within all the turmoil, the blind hope, the blind despair, and feel that this is all here for a reason. That you can be with it, look at it gently and with compassion, and see that it isn’t the truth. It’s just what you are experiencing in the moment.

Acceptance is knowing that you can stand totally open for all your feelings: love, hope, joy, illusions, clarity, disillusionment, fear, anger, sorrow, doubt… You can stand in between all of this and understand that you are all of it and none of it. Understand the tears and the joy that rock you and make you oh so human!

Acceptance is taking off the masks that prevent you from seeing your true self. Total acceptance of who you are is the key to standing in the storm, that sometimes feels like a tsunami that will wash you away.

The Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron, describes a meditation practice called tonglen in this video. Tonglen is a wonderful practice to help strengthen your heart, to help you deal with painful experiences and suffering.

Another good practice, to free your subconscious mind from painful memories, is the Hawaiian Huna forgiveness ritual known as ho’o pono pono. In this one, you take the person who has hurt you in your thoughts and then repeat the following sentences over and over: I love you. I’m sorry. I thank you. Please forgive me. I release you. Do this for as long as you can and then sit quietly, accepting all feelings that pour into you. Repeat this daily until you can do it with a quiet heart.

What ways do you have to deal with painful experiences and suffering?

Images to accompany this blog

One Comment:

  1. My shamanic teacher, Robin Youngblood ( taught me a variation on the ho’oponopono sentances where “I forgive you” is used instead of “Please forgive me”. I can imagine that there are situations (ie. rape, murder, unwarrented violence) where it is next to impossible to use the latter sentance. Then “I forgive you.” is just as healing.

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